By Rohey Jadama
Cross-examination of Sub Inspector Samba Bah of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) continued at high court yesterday 8 November, 2016 in the trial of 14 UDP members.
The trial at the special Criminal Division of the Banjul High Court is presided over by Justice Otaba.
The accused persons are Bakary Jammeh, Kaddy Samateh, a mother of a four months old baby, Lele Bojang, Alkali Sanneh, Yaya Fatty, Solo Kurumah (Deceased), Muhammed Singhateh, Kemo Touray, Bakary Marong, Buba Mass, Alagie Saidykhan, Tombong Njie, Modou Sarr, Sheriff Suma and Lamin Dampha.
They are being tried on seven counts of ‘Conspiracy to commit Felony’, ‘Unlawful Assembly’,’ Riot’, ‘Incitement of Violence’, ‘interfering with vehicle’, ‘Holding a possession without a permit’ and ‘Disobeying order to disperse’, to which they all pleaded not guilty.
Continuing his cross-examination in the ongoing trial of 14 United Democratic Party (UDP) supporters, the witness said he is not aware of the march past organized by the government condemning coup and European Union’s 17 points human rights demand from the Gambia Government.
“On this day do you have any complaint from any member of the public that his/her vehicle was commandeered by these people?” quizzed Lawyer Borry S. Touray. He answered, “Not to my knowledge”.
Borry asked, “Were any of your security vehicles commandeered by the group this day?” He answered, “I’m not aware.
Touray asked, “Did you receive any complaint from the government that any of their vehicles is commandeered by the group?” He answered, “Not to my knowledge”.
Touray added, “Did you receive any complaint from the general public at PIU about blockage?” He answered, “Yes”. Touray asked, “Can you give me the name of one complainant who is a member of a general public?” He answered, “No”.
Touray asked, “Can you estimate the crowd that you referred to as on lookers?” He answered, “I don’t know how many because it happened in a public highway”.
Touray asked, “The passers-by were passing on a public highway is that right?” He answered, “Yes”. Touray asked, “Did they stop to watch what was happening?” He answered, “Yes”.
Touray asked, “Do you know the party affiliation of those passers-by?” He answered, “No”. Touray added, “Do they have any common feature of identification?” He answered, “I don’t observe any identification”.
Touray said, “On the vehicle you arrested did you arrest anyone with a party flag?” He responded,“Yes”. Touray asked, “Who was this person?” He answered, “I cannot remember anyone of them having a party flag but they were arrested with banners and t-shirts”.
Touray remarked, “Do you know the names of all the men who were part of the platoon?” He answered, “I can’t remember”.
Touray remarked, “Are you telling the court that you don’t know the names of your colleagues?” He answered, “I Know the names of my colleagues but on that day I cannot remember all those who participated in the arresting”.
“Remember that we have several pro-government demonstrations in the past?” quizzed Lawyer Borry S. Touray. “I cannot remember, I know of this one”, responded the witness.
Touray noted, “I mean demonstrations organised by the government itself?”
He said, “I am not aware of any demonstration organised by the government.”
Touray asked, “How about march past or procession being organized by the government?” The witness said, “No”.
Touray noted, “You mean you are not aware of the 10,000 march past condemning the coup organized in this country?” “My answer is that this question is irrelevant to this case”, responded the witness.
Touray noted, “You will agree with me that even if you do not remember those occasions but it is true that the paramilitary was not organized to go and disrupt the procession and arrest those persons participating in it?”
At this juncture State Counsel B. Jaiteh interjected and objected to this question arguing that the said question is irrelevant to the case.
Responding to the objection of the state counsel, Barrister Touray submitted that the question is very relevant to the case because it will test the truthfulness of the witness.
In his ruling Justice Otaba overruled the objection adding that the question asked by the defence counsel is relevant to the case and he thus orders the witness to answer the question.
“In my opinion they are not arrestable demonstrations”, responded the witness.
At this juncture the case was adjourned till 9 November, 2016 at 4pm for continuation of cross-examination.